JADEN BAKER by COURTNEY KIRCHOFF
Jaden Baker is unique, talented, special.
And for a while there, things were looking up. Adopted by an upper-middle class couple of suburbia, Jaden believed he’d finally gotten that second chance everyone raves about. It came with potato salad.
But something happened. Something always happens. The life he’d been living took a dark twist, taking him on a journey that exposed him to evil, and the power it wields.
For those receiving it, patience is a deadly virtue.
Our Review by Jenny & Gitte
Gitte: Seriously, I don’t even know where to start with this review. I kind of just want to tell you all to go pick it up if you like a dark and very emotional read because this one is pure genius. It’s so well written, there are no other words for it….G E N I U S!! Yes I had a couple of issues which is why it is not a 5 Star BUT….
I do have to point out that this is not for sensitive readers, nor can anyone truly prepare for Jaden’s journey and I for one was not expecting anything like what I read. I was stunned into a tearful silence, feeling morose for days and unable to pick up another book, yeah it has that kind of effect.
I wanted to jump into my kindle and hurt and eradicate. But most of all I wanted to save Jaden; just hug him, feed him, show him love and humanity. I wanted to reverse time and pick this young boy out of my kindle and yeah save him from the inhumane slavery forcibly imposed on him.
This genre is not one I normally read. I haven’t even got a clue what you would call it. Thriller meets crime meets science fiction meets super natural with a dash of romance thrown in perhaps? Who knows! To be honest I don’t really care. All I care about is that upon finishing I felt exhausted both mentally and physically. My emotions were all over the place and I don’t think I let up crying at any one stage in this book. I was crying from the utter torture, from being scared, from having my heart beaten to a pulp by a little boy and his journey into adulthood.
This kind of journey was a first for me…it was incomparable…something I haven’t experienced before and I truly am lost for words.
So what is it about? It’s about a lost little innocent boy with a gift. A boy whose childhood and part adulthood is stolen by evil and experimented upon in the name of science for what is truly concealed as the greater good but truly is more like a weapon of desired ‘money talking’ destruction. It broke our hearts didn’t it Jenny?!
Jenny: It certainly did Gitte, in fact, I’d say it crushed us and we were speechless during a lot of this book that’s for sure. Once again though Gitte, we go into a book with no preconceived expectations and come out the other end having read something that has blown us away. Love it.
This was indeed a very different read and like you, it was so unlike anything I’ve read. I couldn’t put it down and I find it impossible to put into one particular genre because it encompassed so many.
It was thrilling, suspenseful, with traces of science fiction, supernatural and yes, there was even romance, humor, heart stopping moments, gut wrenching scenes, with mystery and intrigue told in varying viewpoints to allow the reader to live every heart pounding moment. How often do you find that mixture in a book? This was indeed a very different and unique reading experience but not one you can go into lightly because this book is dark, and there are times this book will completely test your resolve and have you questioning the state of the human race and what depths some people in society will plunge to in the name of “research”. Research? No, there is never a reason for what happened in this book. EVER!
Jaden Baker will steal your heart and your heart will break for him. Young cheeky Jaden who has a unique way of dealing with adversity through sarcastic wit will have you wanting to protect him any way you can. His story and his journey will have you clutching your chest and feeling a sense of dread in your gut. There is no doubt in my mind that Jaden’s story will leave you breathless…completely and utterly breathless. I know I was in tears many a time through this book as I was rallying for the witty and resilient Jaden whose resolve will make you ache for him in a way you can’t imagine and I was with him every step of the way.
“No matter how miserable or painful this got, he would not yield”
You will feel hatred on a level that knows no bounds towards the perpetrators of Jaden’s misery and have you weeping for this lost little boy whose inner strength will astound you. That these people would try to justify their treatment by referring to it as science and for the greater good will leave you shaking with anger!
“When it came down to it, Jaden was valuable to them.”
Gitte: So why not 5 Stars? Well I did have two issues with this story. It was too long and it really didn’t need to be. I completely got and understood the pure terror, the hatred, the violence and the despicable evil and thought some of it should have been cut out. The terror dragged, it felt over written at times.
Instead, I would have LOVED an Epilogue, and in my opinion NEVER has a story needed an Epilogue more than this one. The journey, I as a reader was put through, I definitely needed “an afters”. I needed that moment when I could BREATHE with relief that all was okay, that life was truly delivered to this amazing young man in all its Technicolor glory without the pain and the looking over his shoulder. I needed to know he got every damn thing he so deserved, that he got life back, experienced everything true love and happiness brings, so I felt a little bit cheated out of that breath. Don’t get me wrong, this story does have a type of HEA; however, in my opinion it ends too abruptly after a bombardment of information and discoveries through a dramatic sequence of events. The momentum in the latter part of Jaden’s story is a ‘killer’…you have no time to breathe, it was absolutely brilliant!
I urge readers to pick this story up if you enjoy dark books. It truly was an experience. It humanizes every emotion and you feel every heart beat and every tear as you sit there unable to breathe. It was brutal, absolutely, but the message is clear. One human being does not own another. It shows that human nature is first and foremost instinctually self-protective and that in order for another to break that resilience all external stimuli and free-will must be taken away and conquered. However, it also shows the amazing capability of an individual’s resourcefulness and self-empowerment in the darkest hour. It is about survival, our innate instinct to protect and survive.
Jenny: There is no doubt that this book will leave you an emotional wreck. You will be enamored with Jaden, you will admire him for how he deals with situations that would leave a lessor person reeling. His sense of humor will brighten you, but you will ache and you will cry over the cruelty which is so brilliantly, yet disturbingly detailed in this book and you will be exhausted from the thrill of the ride this story will take you on as a consequence. I urge you to hang on because it’s a doozy!
The reveals when they come will extract an audible “wow” from you, I guarantee it. The author brings the story together in such a way that will leave you in awe.
This was indeed dark, you will witness the human spirit being crushed, but you will also revel in how the human spirit can triumph and how one person can prevail against all odds.
“This will end. No matter how bad it is, it won’t last forever. You’re strong Jaden. You’re a survivor”
I agree with you Gitte, in that I would have liked to have seen this story been slightly condensed in some parts, as at times the over explanation of scenes tended to slow the pace of the story. Had there been a longer epilogue there is no doubt this would have been a 5 star read for me. Jaden’s treatment in incarceration was horrifying and by reducing that section of the story the reader would have still been profoundly affected by what Jaden endured without the lengthy detail.
We went through so much. We experienced everything Jaden did. All his hopes, dreams doubts and despair, his pain and torture. His triumphs, his sorrow and his devastation so we needed to know how he faired going forward. I did love the ending, and it was an HEA of sorts as you said and yes, it did give me a good feeling but I needed more. I was emotionally wrought after this read and just felt I deserved to know how Jaden prevailed. Did he find the peace he so desired and so deserved without the constant threat that had pursued him for most of his life? In my heart I have to believe he did but I would have loved to have heard it from Jaden himself.
I definitely won’t be forgetting this one in a hurry that’s for sure. As avid readers, every now and then Gitte and I feel the need to read something that takes us out of our comfort zone, that tests us as readers and leaves us exhausted yet with that feeling of exhilaration when we’ve finished and Jaden Baker definitely delivered on all counts!
Gitte: 4.5 stars
Jenny: 4.5 stars